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Dream of the Dance

Dreamed October 16, 2006, painted 2006, mixed media, 31.5 x 47", by Jenny Badger Sultan

Dream painting, 'Dream of the Dance', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge

I am at a gathering in a large room. People are dancing. I notice a group of women in dark steel-navy blue robes gathering in a sort of circle. I go over to see if I can join them but then they seem to disperse. Other groups of similarly garbed women form in other parts of the room but nothing quite coalesces. There is the feeling that sometime later they will lead some kind of group movement.

I am dressed in black--in an outfit similar to the ones the black robed women in Turkey wear only without my head covered. It feels very heavy. I am dancing alone amid other people. I feel that I cannot move well. I am thinking that if Hank joins me I will be able to move better--I will have him to counterbalance me and move with and against. (Awareness recently of how it helps me to hold his hand when we go walking.)

In another part it seems as if people are walking to another area for another part of this event--I have the impression that they are moving down to the beach. I am by myself--alone in the crowd it feels like. I take my hair out of its clips and brush it out--think Iíll leave it loose. Vague memory of going to a sort of outhouse-like bathroom--sitting on the toilet.


I had this dream after our trip to Turkey in September, 2006. I had retired from teaching in June and was feeling the freedom of being able to travel to a place I had longed to visit. The experience of being in an Islamic country and seeing women in all states of being covered or not covered was intensely fascinating--they had shown up in my inner imagery for years.

In the dream I feel the heaviness of the black garments and the difficulty in moving contrasted with the support and balance that my partner can give me.

It occurred to me to create the painting in parts, with some of the dream images and some images I remembered from the trip--my feet standing on an inlaid floor, a painting of a basket of fruit from the decorations in the harem, the beautiful symbolic logo of the streetcar company.

I also began to use beads--making a beaded mandala inspired by the hangings made for protection and blessing that we saw in a restaurant where we ate frequently in Istanbul.

When I had made all the separate pieces I shuffled them around, trying out different arrangements before deciding on the final one, then stitched them together, occasionally using more small beads.

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